Definition of Referral Traffic
Referral traffic is used to describe visitors to your site that come from direct links on other websites rather than directly or from searches. For example, other sites that like what you have to say or sell may post a link recommending your site. You can also try to drive your own referral traffic by leaving links on other blogs or forums you have joined. Pay-per-click ads also count as referral traffic.
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Referral traffic increases the "page rank" of your website, blog or affiliate system which boosts it in search results. High rankings in major search engines likes Google Bing and Yahoo are coveted, as being listed on the first page of a search can lead to many more clicks than if your site showed up on the fourth or fifth page of search results. Referral traffic is also important because it provides a steady source of traffic outside of search engine hits. Referral traffic drives targeted visitors to your website, which may increase revenues as they are more likely to purchase a subscription or buy your product. A person who finds your site at random may find it has nothing to do with what he was looking for.
In the eyes of Google, referral traffic is beneficial because it adds legitimacy, or trust flow, to a website. Trust flow is a number from 0-100 that shows how trustworthy a site is based on how many other trustworthy sites point back to it.
There are many facets to referral traffic, with just as many ways to get ahead. As the proverb goes, content is king, but especially so when it comes to increasing referral traffic.